Top 10 Movie adaptations of Books

Be it the general public, Hollywood or Bollywood, books inspire us all. There have been countless attempts to make the words written play in front of the viewers’ eyes. At times it does seem like the words have came to life but at times it is also a failed attempt. The inspiration that one receives from books is limitless, after-all inspiration knows no boundaries. Directors, producers ad scriptwriters from all over the world have found novelty in literary masterpieces countless number of times. Here is a list of 10 best movie adaptations of books.

10. Omkara.

Based on: Othello by Shakespeare.

Film: 2006

Director: Vishal Bhardwaj.

Who even dares to forget Langa Tyagi or the striking lines like, “Hassi badi mehangi ho rakhi hai duniya mein”! The film is a superlative- a perfect blend of passionate work, skill, style and tribute. The dialogues are bewitchingly written and almost literal to the play. The director also seems to agree with the script of the play, for even when he transported it to a different century, he has kept the changes and digression to minimum.The film was showcased in the 2006 Cannes Film festival. The film also won three awards at the Kara film festival, one at the Asian festival of First films along with three National film awards and seven Filmfares.

It is a story of an illegitimate son of a brahmin ( Omkara or Othello as Shakespeare pleases), who has now became the bahubaali and goon for politicians. The perfect story of trust, lust, loyalty and betrayal


9. The Godfather.

Based on: The Godfather by Mario Puzo

Film: 1972

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

The writer had himself assisted Francis with the screenplay and the movie. Apart from some backstories being eliminated and others making an appearance in the second part, Godfather II, the movie had stayed true to the book. The film was the highest grossing film of the year and had won Oscars. This classic is not bound by time and still charms its viewers. With its amazing camera angles and on point dialogues, it provides justice to the book. However, some agree that the ending of the movie is more gloomy when compared to the book but they are perfect complements for each other. Even if you read the book after he movie, you won’t regret it. It is considered as a “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. And won’t it be when you write line like, “…make him an offer he can’t refuse”.



8. Guide.

Based on: R.K. Narayan

Film: 1965

Director: Vijay Anand

This romantic drama was a box office hit, considering the wonderful screenplay and the choice of actors. It had memorable performance and soothing yet enticing music.  Guide is considered as a textbook for directing films, acting, dialogues and song writing by many.  Also it was adapted in English, though the version written by Pearl S. Buck and directed by Tad Danielewiski was screened 42 years after its making in 2007 Cannes film festival.

Yaad mein nasha karrta hun, nashe mein yaad karrta hun ” and many more romantic lines could be found in the script written by Padma Vibhusan winner R. K. Narayan who gave us Malgudi days. Guide revolves around a dancer who leaves her husband and a freelance guide who battles with alcohol on a daily basis only to end up as a holy man in a remote, arched village. It is a tale of worldly passion and spiritual transcendence. It is a story of love and trust; trust that Rosie has on Rajju to face her fears with his help and bloom.


7. Haider.

Based on: Hamlet by Shakespeare and Curfewed Night  by Basharat Peer

Film: 2014

Director: Vishal Bhardwaj

Another classic from Vishal Bhardwaj. This crime tradegy is the modern day adaptation of Hamlet set amongst the insurgency-stricken Kashmir. It was screened at the 19th Busan International film festival. The screenplay, film score, direction, music and acting received many praises and were garnered several accolades. It was also the first film to win People’s Choice awards at Rome film festival.

It is a story where a young student and poet, Haider returns to his homeland Kashmir at peak of insurgency conflict to seek answers about his father and his disappearance only to end up in political drama and politics of the state.


6. Gone girl.

Based on: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Film: 2014

Director: David Fincher

The psychological thriller was met with critical acclaim and commercial success upon it’s release. With it’s dialogues making a squib at marriage, this movie covers love, obsession and killing for love. It is narrative type of story telling which is covered with layers of deceit. The movie has been nominated for BAFTA Award.

It is a story where no one is what they seem in the first site. A clever but maddening tale of a wife’s obsession and the lengths she went to teach her husband a lesson. Set in Missouri, it is a mystery surrounding the husband Nick, who has became the prime suspect in the missing case investigation of her wife, Amy.


5. 3 Idiots.

Based on: Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat

Film: 2009

Director: Rajkumar Hirani

3 idiots is a coming-of-age comedy drama which revolves around the theme of friendship. It also poses a quetion on the Indian Education System with hard dialogues like, ” Main toh aapko yeh padha raha tha ki, padhate kaise hai” and satirical dialogues like, ” Ajeeb desh hai humara yaha, pizza tees minute me pahunchane ki gaurantee hai .. lekin ambulance?“.

The story revolves around three friends at an Indian Engineering college. It is a satire on social pressures faced by students under education system.

4. Silver linings Playbook.

Based on: The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

Film: 2012

Director: David O. Rusell

The movie was premiered at 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. It is a movie starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. It was both a commercial and critical success. The movie has been very sympathetically adapted keeping in mind the sensitive theme of bipolar disorder that the book revolves around. The screenplay is a success as it entertains the audience, captivates and captures their attention all the while provoking in equal measures.

The movie is a story of a man,Patrizio “Pat” Solitano, Jr., dealing with bipolar disorder. He is recently released from a psychiatric hospital and comes to his parents home. He meets Tiffany, recently widowed while trying to win back his wife. She agrees to help him if he participates in a dance competition as her partner. the rest of the movie is every character trying to cope up with problems in their lives and also mending their relationships especially Pat, his father and Tiffany.


3. Lord of the rings (series).

Based on: The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkiens

Film: 2001-2003

Director: Peter Jackson

The subsequent films in the series are subtitled as The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), The Return of the King (2003). It has been deemed as the most expensive and ambitions projects ever taking a whole of eight years to film the three films simultaneously. Though the movie plot flows the story-line of the book in a general and subtle way but there have been deviation and change of plot seen in the movie. The films are highest grossing films and heavily critically acclaimed.

The story is set in a fictional world of Middle-earth and follows a hobbit named Frodo Baggins as a journey quest is embarked to destroy the One Ring in hopes of destruction of its maker, the Dark Lord Sauron. The fellowship eventually splits only to unite again with more people in War of the Ring.


2. Lolita.

Based on: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Film: 1962

Director: Stanley Kubrik

Lolita caused mayhem in the industry with its Pedophile theme. The novel has had two movie adaptations but the adaptation of 1962 stands out as it is a black comedy drama. Also the adaptation of  1997 by Adrian Lyne though had problems with distributors at that time but now is wonderfully received. Both the actresses playing Lolita in the movies were teenagers at the time, this was one of the reasons critics were wary of the movies. The book has also been adapted several times for stage, two times for Ballets, twice for Opera  and a critically acclaimed Broadway musical.

The story is of an English professor, Humbert Humbert who is obsessed with his 12 year old adolescent step-daughter. “Lo” or “Lolita” is the nickname he gave the girl, Dolores. Where the book has received much success, the movies have not been that successful on the box office but have been critically acclaimed for portraying the theme in such a truthful yet at times leaving to imagination kind of way.


1. Devdas.

Based on: Devdas by Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay

Film: 2002

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Chattopadhyay’s Devdas has been adapted numerous times as films , TV serial or theater play and that too in many languages be it Hindi, Bangla or Tamil. It is the most filmed story in India which is not an epic tale. The novel was originally written in Bengali containing one of the most enduring and tragic love stories of all times written in India. The film was screened in 2002 Cannes film festival. It won Filmfare for the best film. The film was recently included in Top 10 movies of the millennium worldwide by Time’s Magazine.

The story is about a wealthy law graduate, Devdas who is London return to marry his childhood sweetheart Paro. However his family doesn’t agree to the same and he takes refuge in alcohol where he meets Chandramukhi, a prostitute. It is a amazing movie whose theme covers subjects like emotional deterioration, love and lust, and heartbreak.

It contains perfect melody songs and on point depiction of the characters changing the way they live. Devdas also gave us some of the best dialogues ever along with bucket full of tears. Remember, “Kaun kambakht bardaasht karne ko peeta hai … hum toh peete hai ki yahan par baith sake, tumhe dekh sake, tumhe bardaasht kar sake”. Worderful lines aren’t they?! The movie is filled with many more emotional speeches and romantic lines.


Though it is true that there are still many movies that deserve a rightful spot on this list but no one can deny that they above mentioned are some wonderful classic movies. It is a rare moment when the movie gives you the same thrill and chills as the book. And the ones mentioned in the list are some of those rare movies. Nobody can ever forget the wonderful cinematic magic of The Shawshank Redemption and Harry Potter series, considering Hollywood and Slumdog Millionaire and Parineeta.  Where it is a common belief that movie adaptations ruin the book, these lovely wonders stand out! These movies have not only charmed the viewers and cinephiles and introduced them to a literary world, indirectly but have also made home in the hearts of bibliophiles.


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Bhanu Priya Bhati

A spontaneous girl who would flip you off one minute then kiss you the next.
Reading addict and an amateur artist.

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